Week of March 18

Monday, March 18

Baruch Spinoza was a 17th century lens grinder known for his precision optical work. But it was his philosophy that made this Dutch-Jewish thinker famous, then and now. IDEAS host Paul Kennedy explores how Spinoza's thoughts on God, the universe, ethics and politics helped ignite the flame that became the Enlightenment.

Tuesday, March 19
Eleanor Wachtel talks to American singer-songerwriter, poet, and visual artist Patti Smith. Patti Smith's influence on the music world never depended on cranking out hits. She's inspired people by knowing and doing what she wants.  Two years ago, she won a National Book Award for Just Kids, her memoir about her early life in New York with the radical photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe. Camera Solo - an exhibition of Patti Smith's photographs is now at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Eleanor spoke to Patti Smith live on-stage to a packed house, earlier this month.

Wednesday, March 20
Once long past, listening gave clues for survival. Now we listen unconsciously, blocking noise and tuning in to what we want to hear. Yet the unwanted sounds we filter out tell us a lot about our environment and our lives. Broadcaster Teresa Goff listens for the messages in our walls of sound.

Thursday, March 21
Depression. It has been called the mean reds. The blue devils. The black dog. And through history, treatments for depression have varied wildly. In the Middle Ages, depressives were caged in asylums. In Victorian England, wealthier patients were sent to seaside resorts for a change of air. In the 1930's, procedures like lobotomies and electroconvulsive therapy were used. Psychiatry's tools were crude and limited.  No wonder then, when the Age of the Antidepressant arrived, it was considered psychiatry's triumph.  Prozac came onto the market in 1988, followed quickly by many similar drugs. But, since then, the number of people afflicted with depression has soared.  In this 3 part program, IDEAS producer Mary O'Connell explores the short and troubling history of the antidepressant

Friday, March 22
Mavis Gallant has written dozens of dazzling, sardonic, heart-breaking short stories. She is acknowledged as a master of the short-story and has been showered with honours. Yet she is not well known in her home country - Canada.  Now in her 90th year, she still lives in the same small Parisian apartment she moved into almost 50 years ago. Rome-based writer and journalist Megan Williams spent almost a week with Gallant in Paris, recording material for her documentary portrait: The Four Seasons of Mavis Gallant.

Ideas In The Afternoon - Monday, March 28
The book has stayed pretty much the same for over 500 years: a bunch of paper pages between covers. It's been both finite and easily grasped. But our digitally-connected world is forcing us to re-imagine what books could be.

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